Nonprofit newspapers to help the homeless release QR codes issue

International Network of Street Papers

International Network of Street Papers

This latest edition is designed to spread awareness and expand readership.

The International Network of Street Papers (INSP) was created in 1994 and has since been working with homeless people to sell magazines and newspapers so that they can earn a living and improve their situations.

This nonprofit, based in Glasgow, Scotland, assists in the creation of weekly or monthly publications around the world.

It works with journalists to establish the newspapers and magazines so that homeless people can purchase them at a discount of half the sale price so that they can be resold for the full cover price, allowing them to keep the profits and make a decent living.

The organization has, however observed that the future is likely a digital one, and that consumers are increasingly using their smartphones and tablets to read their media. Though there are currently 122 different types of Street Papers locally produced through INSP, available in 24 languages, they are currently available only in print format.

Now, INSP is testing editions that can be accessed via QR codes.

According to the network services manager at the nonprofit, Maree Aldam, “It was important to maintain the personal face-to-face model of the street papers initiative.”

This mobile angle is a response to the falling circulation and shrinking ad revenue being experienced by many media outlets of all sizes around the world. The problems faced by INSP are even more complex. This is because the company needs to identify a way to digitize their paid publications without sacrificing the personal interaction that is relied upon by the homeless people who are selling them – which is the entire point to the organization.

Aldam explained that “The reason why people buy street papers is slightly different than why consumers buy any other paper.” She went on to say that “It’s partly because of the connection to the vendor and doing some good as well. It’s a part of the reason why circulation isn’t affected as much as the print media.”

Globally, there are currently 6 million readers of Street Papers, and that circulation is growing among 40 different countries. However, this could rapidly change as mobile increases its penetration. The hope is that the use of QR codes will help to overcome this sizeable hurdle.


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